Hodgkins’ late work was still innovative

Dunedin-born painter Frances Hodgkins (1869-1947) holds a special place in the gallery’s collection, writes Dunedin Public Art Gallery curator Lucy Hammonds.

As one of New Zealand’s most significant expatriate artists, Dunedin-born painter Frances Hodgkins (1869-1947) holds a special place in the Dunedin Public Art Gallery collection.

Raised in Dunedin, Hodgkins attended Dunedin School of Art in 1895-96 as she worked towards establishing her artistic career.

A well-travelled young woman, her interests soon saw her leave New Zealand to live overseas and she spent most of her working life based in Britain. Despite this, her connection to New Zealand remained strong and the Dunedin Public Art Gallery collection includes drawings, watercolours and paintings representing the major phases of Hodgkins’ career.

Hodgkins’ Corfe Castle (1943) is currently on display as part of the recently opened exhibition World View, a survey of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery permanent collection. 

The work was painted in the later years of the artist’s life when she was living and working in the village of Corfe Castle in Dorset, England.

This was a time of significant experimentation in Hodgkins’ painting, when despite ill health, she continued to innovate and extend her mature abstract style.

This painting was acquired in 1967, marking a period of focused interest in building a representative collection of works by Hodgkins for the Dunedin Public Art Gallery.

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